COVID-19: Safety is not negotiable for anyone - including health care workers

The strength of our health care system rests on our doctors, nurses, health science professionals, allied health workers, EMS personnel, DSWs, PSWs, health care aides, orderlies, cleaners, food service workers and others; to treat patients and keep the broader public safe, they need to be protected.

Ottawa (17 March 2020) - On March 13, a joint statement was released by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), UNIFOR, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). 

In part it reads: "As labour organizations representing close to a million health care workers, we are calling for the Public Health Agency of Canada and all provincial public health offices to protect health care workers and their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also urging decision-makers to adhere to the precautionary principle, which calls for reasonable safeguards when a virus is clouded in scientific uncertainty.

Our health care system is already running over capacity; we simply cannot afford to erode staffing levels any further if health care workers become sick and self-quarantine. It is therefore imperative that we protect health care workers so that they can continue to provide safe and effective care.

To health ministers and health employers, we say: this responsibility lies with you. To stop the transmission of COVID-19, health care workers must be equipped with the appropriate fit-tested personal protective equipment. Employers must provide the necessary training and supports – and they must mandate point-of-care risk assessments that empower health care workers to assess their own risk and act accordingly."

You can read the full  joint statement here.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE